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Buck Johnson
©2010 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd,

Buck Johnson has done all the things I like to see in a debut project.  He has stayed on genre, offering up country music even when the rhythm section is playing blues or a samba.  He has created a themed project, telling a story from beginning to end, but allowing each track to stand on its own.  This means fans are crazy to ever try to download just one song from this project.  Get the entire disc or go back to playing solitaire.  Additionally, Johnson has surrounded himself with great pickers.  Not just one, but two great steel players appear on this disc, including my good friend Herb Steiner, a member of the original Cosmic Cowboy Band.  With all that talent rounded up, Johnson found himself a jam up producer in John Beland.  Beland is well known for his years with the Flying Burrito Brothers and his proficiency with the B-Bender. (Another proficient B-Bender is MTM member Richard Bowden, who fronts Moon and the Starz, with keyboardist Mark Vidito, also known for his time with the Flying Burrito Brothers; small world) Additionally, both Beland and Bowden performed with Linda Ronstadt.  Beland is known for being a great session guitarist but has made a name for himself as an excellent producer as well.  His accolades are warranted on this disc as he captures Buck Johnson’s vision perfectly.  Johnson is a perfectionist in the studio, taking a year to fine tune this project, and Beland stuck with him the whole way, making it a release to remember and lending his outstanding guitar talents to the album.  Johnson covers Larry Norman, Clay Blaker, and Buck Owens on this album and writes or co-writes the rest of the dozen tracks.  Perhaps the most lyrically entertaining track is Johnson’s co-write with Lance Goodman, “We Don’t Tell Our Mamas” which will endear Buck to any man who remembers his own boyhood.  “Could’a Had A Cuddle” rings in as perhaps the most clever track of the project.  I couldn’t help but listening to it a few extra times.  John reveals his talent as a songwriter throughout, but reveals to most troubadours that his most poignant tunes will come later in his career, opting for entertaining over expressive for now, but don’t count Johnson out when it comes to evoking true emotion through song.  His co-write with sis Mykel Johnson will have you thinking.  Johnson’s sound is old school without being ancient, modern without being pop, country without being too western, and diverse without busting genre.  Johnson’s voice is true, extremely comfortable, and I heard no evidence of auto-tuning.  The arrangements are masterful, and Beland’s production makes the performances outstanding.  One of the best debut offerings of 2010, Johnson’s album is Texan to the core and will no doubt get a second look from the nominating committee of the Texas Music Awards.

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Buck Johnson